If 10-year-old Coty Allen could have one wish, he said, he would wish to be an average child with a normal life.
Leah Clay, a PTO member and volunteer, delivers food to customers at the Coty Cookout drive-through fundraiser at Bel Air Elementary on Saturday.
Photo by Quandra Collins
"I would really like to play baseball, surf and ride a skateboard, do stuff I really couldn't do," said the Bel Air Elementary School third-grader, who is restricted from engaging in such physical activities because of a disorder called Dent's disease.
While there is still no sign of a cure for the genetic kidney disease, which currently affects six reported people in North America, Coty's parents Brent and Kari hope money from a local fund-raiser will help pay for medical expenses.
So far, his parents' dream is coming true.
On Saturday, friends and family held a cook-out drive-through fund-raiser at Bel Air Elementary School in Evans, raising $4,500 for the Coty Christian Allen Medical Needs Foundation.
"It makes me feel good, on the inside, to know that I have somebody to look to for help," Coty said. "Hopefully, I can get my own kidney, from my dad, so I can live a normal life."
Tammy Tuccitto, the Parent-Teacher Organization president at Bel Air, organized the event with the help of PTO member Leah Clay when she learned of Coty's illness in March.
"His medical needs and prescriptions are unbelievable," she said. "We really want the community to know what he's going through and we hope this is the very first step in having more fund-raisers.'' Since contracting the disease at age 3, Coty has had to endure surgeries, hospitalizations and more ailments such as another kidney disease called renal rickets, osteoporosis and a skin affliction called ichtheosis. Coty also underwent brain surgery, which was unrelated to his condition, to relieve pressure on his cerebellum because of a portion of his brain protruding into his spinal canal.
Cooper Allen (from left), 3, sits with his brother Coty, 10, and (in back) Christopher Duncan, 12, during the fund-raiser at Bel Air Elementary School to help pay for Coty's medical expenses.
Photo by Quandra Collins
Despite his condition, his parents say, Coty never allows his obstacles to get in the way.
"He has a great personality and a love for life that is unbelievable," his mother said.
To make a donation to the Coty Christian Allen Medical Needs Foundation write to firstname.lastname@example.org, call Tuccitto at 364-9419 or call Bel Air Elementary at 863-8724.
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